Pioneers of 2021


First started in 2017, Upp! has programs in Vietnam, the Netherlands and Singapore. Upp! closes the plastic waste loop locally and in a circular way using breakthrough Australian technology. Upp! can handle difficult to recycle mixed plastic waste in a cost and energy effective way. Their machines can take unsorted, unwashed and unshredded mixed plastic waste and process this into robust and recyclable new materials and new products which the company then markets in a 360 degree approach. The goal of the company is to save over 250 thousand ton of plastic waste from incineration, landfills and oceans in over 5 countries and encourage more than 10 plastic-waste-free cities. Bin bags, Fishing nets, carpet tiles, running shoes, multilayer foils and sachets, drink cartons, coffee cups and even textiles or cigarette butts can be taken and are processed directly into products circularly designed for the local markets.

About the Pioneer

Jan Jaap Folmer describes himself as a problem solver, optimist but above all a change-maker. Born in Friesland in the Netherlands, he grew a taste to travel the world and it was during his time working across three different continents in oil and plastics that he truly realised the impact these industries were having on the planet. He saw firsthand how much plastic from the West was ending up in landfills and oceans in the Global South. Seeing the effect this was having not only on wildlife but also local communities, Jan Jaap decided to do something about it. He started his own company Upp! in 2017 with the goal to not only make upcycle plastics but make plastic waste a thing of the past.

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